• erin

    Dumplings with my family
    A recent graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, I found myself with no money, no kitchen equipment, and an exceptionally huge appetite. Ideas, improvisations, and yummy meal solutions were discovered in the kitchen of my very first apartment.
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    I've been getting a lot of requests and suggestions for the apartment kitchen. I LOVE these suggestions, keep them coming!

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Spiced Corn Soup with Sauteed Mushrooms

At the risk of sounding like a typical New Year’s Resolution maker, I am trying to eat healthier in 2010. Those of you who know me know I try to eat healthy at least most of the time (which makes it much easier and better when I go on a butter eating rampage). At any rate, as I often talk about, it’s easiest to make healthy food that’s delicious by working with it, rather than against it. It’s hard to make something healthy that inherently has a lot of cream or cheese or anything else in it – you’ll miss all that stuff too much if you eliminate it completely.

Corn is full of delicious starches, and in this pureed soup, it turns into a creamy, incredibly tasty soup. Combined with spicy peppers and savory sauteed mushrooms, it is unbelievably good (and also unbelievably healthy).

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Roasted Cumin Carrots

The most beautiful carrots I have ever seen were part of my score from my last farmer’s market trip of the season. They were wonderful – a bit on the small side, since it has been getting bitterly cold already, but so flavorful it reminds you what carrots are supposed to taste like. Sweet and almost buttery and rich. This simple roast paired carrot with one it’s favorite spices: cumin. This is good as a simple side, tossed in a salad, or pureed into a silky dip that’s fantastic with pita bread.

Pizza with White Bean-Rosemary Puree, Bacon, Broccoli Rabe, Tomatoes, Onions, and Parmesan

I love making pizza for a quick meal. Now, normally, some people think of “pizza as a quick meal” as picking up the phone, ordering, and waiting with $20 by the front door. But since I love making bread doughs and freezing them in individual portions until I need them, pizza is a great thing to make when I need a fast dinner. I just take the dough out of the freezer (put it into the fridge) on my way into work, and when I come home, I have dough ready to go. I can fish through the fridge and use whatever meat, veggies, and herbs I have on hand. For this version I made a quick puree of white beans and herbs from the garden (I just love the white beans – so rich and creamy, makes a great sauce substitution for this pizza).

Best of all, the warm, bubbly, cheesy result is incredibly satisfying – like I’d spent hours waiting for it to come to fruition (or to the front door). But the whole thing is done in minutes. All in all – the ideal meal: portioned for one (especially convenient as Matt hates pizza), uses up leftovers, and is done super fast. Hmm. Maybe I’ll go make another one.

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Cauliflower Puree

Calling all carb lovers! If you have not discovered the glorious beauty of pureed vegetables, you mustn’t wait any longer! Peas, greens, and (my personal favorite) cauliflower will transform the way you think about vegetables and possibly replace old time favorites such as mashed potatoes. Don’t believe me? Well, let me just tell you that I am hooked. My pureed cauliflower was creamy and delicious and entirely fat free!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I tested a few alternative options (adding additional ingredients such as a little bit of butter, cream, yogurt, or parmesan cheese) but the plain thing was so so good. It went excellently with the comfort food I made the other night, and best of all – it is super easy! So what are you waiting for?

Seared Sea Scallops with Edamame Salad and Puree

While standing at the seafood counter this weekend, I decided that having satisfied my craving for shrimp, I should indulge in some sea scallops as well. They’re so wonderful when cooked properly – smooth, almost creamy in texture. A wonderful thing about seafood is that you can transform it’s flavor by the items you pair with it. I got this idea from an old Martha Stewart Living recipe, placing scallops on top of an equally silky edamame puree. The combination seemed divine.

And it was. With a little bit of crispness in texture from the edamame and red pepper salad, this dish has it all, and was prepared in under 20 minutes. The key is, cook the scallops until lightly browned and firm to the touch – any longer and they’ll be overdone, and shorter and they will still be raw. Season everything really well and you’ll be in heaven with this dish. It definitely seems like one that took hours to make (I won’t tell if you won’t).